Pilot Butte Update 5: Goals attained


Back on 26 January I wrote my first post, Exercise goals for 2015, that included Pilot Butte, our local cinder cone and State Park. Due to health issues I needed to get in better shape. It has been an assortment of struggles but I have managed.

As for walking, this is what I wrote in that post as my revised 2015 goals:

  • 8 mi/week [till needs to go up]
  • Pilot Butte 1x/week
  • Make the Century Club by the end of 2015

Second Century

Yesterday (Friday, 6 November) I completed my 100th lap of either up and down and/or around Pilot Butte. My second Century completed this year! This being week 45 means I have done it an average of 2.22 times per week. Or, as I’ll get to, those 100 laps happened over 88 actual trips, so let’s say an average of 1.95x/week.


I grabbed a blank Century Club Mileage Log on my way round the base for my 3rd.


There have been assorted delays, setbacks, etc. on the way to this achievement. I started the year pretty well broken physically and I am still working to correct that in some ways but have made great progress. My feet and legs were completely broken from bad shoes and too much walking in Portland during weeks 14 and 15.

Mentioning Portland, we’ve had several trips to Portland, Corvallis and Eugene that took away from my ability to do the Butte. Late in the evening of 14 June I spent several hours in the emergency room as every muscle in my neck and upper back was in complete spasm. That was another week or so I couldn’t do much physically. I have lately been doing physical therapy to correct that issue. Between 19-30 September it was too smoky out from forest fires. And so on.


I started out summiting the first four trips to the butte but my back was hurting too much so I started doing the base trail, which probably has more overall up and down but is less taxing since it isn’t mostly all up and then mostly all down. I didn’t summit again until 1 April. Then 10 May, 26 September (Pilot Butte Challenge), and 27 Sep for Super Blood Moon.

Being both inspired by the Pilot Butte Challenge [here and here] (which I volunteered at this year but want to do next) and by the fact that I summited again the very next day, carrying a folding chair and goodies, for the Super Blood Moon I decided to start trying to summit more often. I have done it another eight times since the end of September. And all of those have been doubles.


It turns out that since I have to take a good portion of the base trail around to get to the start of the nature trail to the top I have basically gone half way around just to get to the trail up. The other half of the base trail is only 0.17 mi longer. So I always now get two laps if I summit as I just go the rest of the way around the base trail on the way home. My first couple of doubles, though, were by doing the base trail twice around in the same trip. I first did that on 31 July, then 14 and 31 August. Since then, all of my doubles have been base and summit trips. Number of doubles by month: 1 July & September, 2 August, 5 October and 3 November (so far; as of 6th). The last four trips have all been doubles.

  • Jan 6 laps for 6 trips
  • Feb 9 laps for 9 trips
  • Mar 10 laps for 10 trips
  • Apr 5 laps for 5 trips
  • May 7 laps for 7 trips
  • Jun 7 laps for 7 trips
  • Jul 10 laps for 9 trips : 1st x2
  • Aug 9 laps for 7 trips : 2 x2
  • Sep 12 laps for 11 trips : 1 x2
  • Oct 19 laps for 14 trips : 5 x2
  • Nov 6 laps for 3 trips : 3 x2

100 laps for 88 trips

Centuries Completed

I completed my first Century on 20 July and my second on 6 November, as I wrote earlier. So it took me until day 201 to complete the first and only until day 310 for the second (or 109 days); I almost cut the time in half.

Can I get 25 more trips by the end of the year?


I had several PRs (personal records) along the way but the main ones were 22 July, with an average of 13:00/mile (walking) over 3.03 mi, which I thought I could never beat, and a week later on 7 August with an average of 12:05/mile and a time of 36:41 over 3.04 mi. I truly do not see myself breaking that any time soon. I was really, really, really pissed off about something that morning so I was in some sense already warmed up. Seeing as I didn’t believe I was ever breaking the 13:00/mile record I just set out. Getting that first half mile split from MapMyRun/Hike I told myself to slow down. Then told myself I felt fine and probably told myself to shut the fuck up with the self-direction giving and walk. Pace continued to be blistering and I felt good—at least for a while—so I kept at it. Eventually it wasn’t really fun anymore but I was still cooking so I stubbornly kept at it. Somehow—I still do not believe it myself except that I “was there” and I heard the splits in my earbuds and MayMyRun got the whole thing recorded with no hiccups—I took another 55 seconds per mile off my PR. Craziness.

Other Walking

Amongst all this walking of Pilot Butte, I have increased my walking around town (most of downtown is from 1-1.25 mi from our house), I walked all around Portland, Corvallis and Eugene, and I went on several other hikes, including one in Eugene. On 26 April Sara and I went out and took the Flatiron Trail in the Oregon Badlands. I also went on all three of the BMBW ONDA Bend-area brewery hikes: 20 May at Scout Camp with Crux, 12 June at the Oregon Badlands (a different section) with Worthy, and 24 July at Black Canyon at Sutton Mountain with Deschutes. On 21 September I took myself out the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway and hiked up Tumalo Mountain.

I have recorded walks totally 510.2 miles so far this year; divided by 45 weeks give 11.33 mi/week so far. It seems that I have achieved all of my walking goals for the year. There were a total of 14 weeks where I had less than 8 miles in them but the last was 10 weeks ago, with the previous one 8 weeks before that. Thus, the vast majority were early on in the year or due to injuries and smoke-filled unhealthy air.

2015 Goals

My other moan goals for the year didn’t work out anywhere near as well. I basically failed at all of them. Lots of extenuating circumstances, including aspects of my health and related issues, but I failed at them nonetheless. That was pretty devastating earlier in the year when it happened and, despite accepting it all, it is still fraught with repercussions for me.

This post and taking the time to look at these numbers and such to put it in perspective has helped mitigate those failures a lot. I nailed my walking goals for the year! More importantly, it has immensely improved my health and attitude.

Pilot Butte Challenge 2016 prep

Like I said above, volunteering at the Pilot Butte Challenge—a 1+ mi run mostly uphill—got me motivated for next year and I drafted an early training plan over the next couple of days. It has been modified a little since late September/early October and it will no doubt be modified in the coming months, especially as we see how my getting out during winter actually went and how soon I get started on serious training next year. Then there’s keeping healthy, needing smoke-free air and so on.

October 2015

  • Begin summiting more frequently [began Oct 2015]
  • Get a base summit time (by self) early [did 4 Oct 2015 14:45.28 (watch) :: 7 Oct 2015 0.86 mi in 14:29 @16:46 (MapMyRun)]
Screen snap from MayMyRun site of my baseline hike up Pilot Butte

Screen snap from MayMyRun site of my baseline hike up Pilot Butte. Not the Challenge course but a known entity for me to train over, Besides, the rest of the Challenge course is flat. I simply cut out the flat parts at the top and bottom.

Winter 2015-16

  • Keep hiking both base and summit, as can

March 2016

  • Start pushing through steeper sections, ‘resting’ on less steep. [aim for 15:30 through the middle uphill section (1.5 – 2.0 mi from home CCW). Did roughly 16:30 through there 28 Oct 2015]

April 2016

  • Start run/walking base trail concentrating on uphill sections


  • Try jogging whole way to summit


  • Run/walk summit concentrating on steeper sections


  • Run summit for time

Late September

  • Pilot Butte Challenge

Previous posts

Previous posts about or mentioning Pilot Butte:

DigiWriMo 2015 [mentioned as a writing project]

Pilot Butte Update 4

PRs and first Century. And another PR in the comments

Pilot Butte Update 3

Ran the base trail (once)

Atkeson – Oregon II [mentioned a photo most likely taken from the butte]

Pilot Butte Update 2

“Maybe I can complete two Centuries this year.”

Pilot Butte Inspiration

“The Pilot Butte Challenge is barely a dream at this point.”

Exercise goals for 2015


For the more pictorially-minded, I have a set of 74 photos from the January 1st sunrise hike in Flickr and have just uploaded another 255 photos I have taken of and from the butte since then. [Flickr is being extremely ignorant and some of the photos are clearly not in chronological order, although most are. Asses me up!]


All in all, my progress on these goals is very heartening. As I said earlier, in other areas I have had an often horrible year; a very demoralizing one.


This makes me happy.

DigiWriMo 2015

As I said in my previous post, I have committed to doing Digital Writing Month, DigiWriMo, again this year. I did it in 2014 and 2012 also.

In 2012 my goal was 50,000 words and last year it was 25,000 [see last year’s post to see why]. This year …. This year … has been ….

Maybe we’ll learn about this past year during this month. And I sincerely mean that collective ‘we;’ I hope I can learn something from all of this.

This year I am aiming for 35,000 words digitally. “Sure,” you say. “What counts?” Legitimate but semi-fraught question. I discussed that a lot in my closing 2014 post, “If I Don’t Reach My Goal – Have I Failed?

But this being my third year now I am a bit more relaxed. I certainly won’t be counting every last tweet and text and Facebook status update [not that I ever did] and …. But some of them will.

I hope to have a fair few posts at this blog and also at my beer blog, By the barrel, or Bend Beer Librarian. I also keep my daily journal in Scrivener so those words are being counted automagically since I have set up Project Targets and will copy anything I want to count into t/here [I draft my posts in Scrivener also].

Some of the things I hope to write about are health issues and responses, Pilot Butte progress and goals, The Session #105 (beer blog), and laying out my 2016 Goals Ideas Projects. If you paid attention to my UnCV that I posted earlier you may have noticed some things about my health and about how I set myself up this year with my goals—with the help of those health issues, by the by. I’d like to write about much of that.

I am also, finally, heading down the homebrewing road. I’ve taken classes, helped people, read a zillion books about it—some even at technical levels far beyond me—and have now signed up for the same class a 2nd time. The class happens entirely during November except for the very last one so assorted thoughts on homebrewing will hopefully show up on my beer blog.

Like I wrote last year, “If any of you are participating in some kind of writing month in November let me know if you would like some support and hopefully we can find a mutual venue.”

::hangs head:: I know I owe Ranger feedback on dog stories from last year. Still.

I have no excuse and I won’t offer any but this last year can go … .

For Rachel and for her namesake I leave you with Jackson Browne’s For A Dancer [YouTube].

“… until the dance becomes your very own …”

I will miss you both for as long as there is a me. In the meantime, I learn to dance.

My Story, My Terms: Unofficial CV activity [DigiWriMo 2015]

DigiWriMo, which I am doing again this November, has asked that I Reconsider Me: to compose in some manner an unCV to introduce myself.

I have decided to go with song titles as the section headings of a table of contents, mostly comprised of song titles.

[N.B. I only got part way through the library and ignored large swaths along that road too. Titles should in most cases be taken as only the title and not as the content of the song; except when not. Most of these songs are quite meaningful to me but I may be twisting the heck out of that meaning with how I am using it here. Song titles are in italics. Performers will be listed at the end broken into sections.]

Ready Or NotThis Box Contains the Ballad of a Thin Man.

Table of Contents:

Industrial Disease [2014-present]

     Heavy Fuel

     So They Say

     Don’t Let Us Get Sick

     Here Come Those Tears Again        

     Dazed and Confused

     All Tore Down


     Poor Poor Pitiful Me

     It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

     There’ll Be Some Changes Made

     The Distance

Setting Me Up [2015 goals]

     The Things I’ve Gone & Done


     You Tripped At Every Step

     Or Down You Fall

     Wicked Game


     Every Thing Happens to Me

     Ain’t That The Way

     Just One of Those Things

     You Painted Yourself In 

What I Am

     So Madly In Love  

     Almost Blue

     The Naming of Things

     21st Century Schizoid Man

     Moody Fucker

     Wishing For Contentment

     Searching For A Heart

     On the Border

     My Mind is Ramblin’

     Sorry I Am

     I Drink Beer

     Rebel Rebel

     32 Flavors

     Sittin’ and Thinkin’


     Wondr’ing Aloud


     I’m a Stranger Here

     Little Earthquakes


     Something Beautiful  

     Existential Exile

     Cause Cheap Is How I Feel

     Battered Old Bird

     Damaged From the Start

     Fuzzy Freaky

     Fuck, I Hate the Cold

     Howlin’ at the Moon

     In Love But Not at Peace

     It’s a War in There

     Calling the Moon

     Here For Now            

     Writing in the Margins   


From the Ashes [Aspirations]

     Don’t Get Trouble on Your Mind

     Get Up Stand Up


     Fierce Flawless

     Mercy of the Fallen

     Learn to Be Still

     I Love Myself Today

     Work Your Way Out



     Don’t Be Afraid of Your Anger


     With My Own Two Hands

     New Dawn Coming

     All the Best                     

     Why Worry


     Breathe Deep        

     Wake Up Dreaming

     I Wish You Peace

This is me. Some sides of me, more honestly. Clearly, it has been a rough last year and a half. Trying to amble into the future as it comes.

Looking forward to DigiWriMo this year.

Cast List, in Order:

Warren Zevon, The Fugees, Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan

Dire Straits: Dire Straits, Cowboy Junkies, Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Becky Chace (and others; e.g. Bowie), Warren Zevon, Bob Dylan, Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler, Cake

Dire Straits: Carrie Newcomer, Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello, Gil Scot-Heron, Chris Isaak, Andrew Bird (or Natalie Merchant), Lightnin’ Hopkins, Ani DiFranco, Anita O’Day, Jolie Holland

Edie Brickell: Georgia Gibbs, Elvis Costello, Andrew Bird, King Crimson, Lambchop, Andrew Bird, Warren Zevon, Al Stewart, Howlin’ Wolf, Ani DiFranco, Dan Reeder, David Bowie, Ani DiFranco, Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco, Jethro Tull, bitch and animal, Lambchop, Carrie Newcomer, Elvis Costello, Clem Snide, Conjure One, Cowboy Junkies, Eric Clapton, Dar Williams, Cowboy Junkies, David Byrne, Cowboy Junkies, The Chenille Sisters, Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, John Gorka, Little Feat

Rosanne Cash: Jolie Holland, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, Eagles, Bif Naked, Ani DiFranco, Jolie Holland, Ani DiFranco, Clem Snide, Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Cowboy Junkies, John Prine, Dire Straits, Calexico, Lambchop, Little Feat, Eagles

Pilot Butte Update 4

Wow. The last update was 24 March: Pilot Butte Update 3.

I left off in week 13 and now we’re in week 30. ::sigh:: I guess I could say there have been a lot of ups and downs in between but that’s too easy of a gag. And, sadly, the metaphoric use would more honestly be mostly downs.

There was one awesome high point though. I was walking really well in late April and throughout most of May. On 5 May I set a personal record (PR) of 14:17 min/mile averages with nice negative splits.

On the morning of 18 May I set out with no particular goal. When I got the first half mile split of around a 14:30 min/mile I told myself I had best slow down. I listened for a second or two and then said, “But I feel great” to myself and just walked. At mile 1 I got that 14:34 split [see below] and decided I still felt great and if that kept up I could set a PR. Things felt awesome all the way through so I went for it.

13:32 min/miles. Walking. Up and down.

Pilot Butte walking PR set 18 May 2015

Pilot Butte walking PR set 18 May 2015

Here’s the [rough] elevation change for this hike, in case you don’t know it [some of these numbers are silly but the consensus seems to be ~260 feet change from top to bottom, but there are a lot of ups and downs between those limits. And the elevation under Max and Min is far closer to our elevation above sea level]:


This was definitely a high point. Not just in my walking but period. For the year so far. I was definitely stoked.

After that my health, mental and physical, went to shit for various reasons and in various ways. I spent a few hours in the emergency room one Sunday evening/Monday morning. I injured myself a couple times. And so on.

My hiking was, again, impacted. I have mostly gotten back to it; at a reduced pace, to say the least. Other changes are afoot. Trying to do some yoga and stretching, to practice mindfulness and meditate, and our diet is under revision towards an anti-inflammatory one. None of it can hurt and I sure hope it helps, especially the diet.

And now for the news that prompted this update. I completed my first Century Club this past Monday, 20 July.

My 1st full Pilot Butte Century Club card

My 1st full Pilot Butte Century Club card

I was unable to get to multiple circumferences in one trip yet—I was hoping for running to easily enable that but it looks like I won’t be running for a good while unless my health really improves. Hiking will do.

I picked up my next blank Century Club card that morning and hope to add my first entry to it in an hour or so. My goal is to fill it before 2015 is out. If I can just get back to doing it a little more frequently AND keep that up, I can do it.

One other “high point.” Sara and I hiked up on 1 July for sunrise exactly half a year after our 1 January sunrise summit. Our timing was off a bit and we would’ve been around the West side when the sun rose and not quite to the top so we climbed back down a little way, sat on a bench, and watched the sun rise. Good enough.

Books I Want to Read

I am going to try out something I just found a couple weeks ago that a friend of mine, Angel Rivera, does at Alchemical Thoughts. He calls it “Items about books I want to read.” Seems he has been doing it a while now. He frequently has a link to a review from the media or something similar. Sometimes it’s just what he has to say about why he’s interested in reading it and a link to the record for the book in WorldCat.

It is to help remember why I marked something as “to read.” Seeing as how some things sit for years on the “to read” list, recording more about how I came across something in the first place might help. Hopefully, if I continue this in the future, it will be a bit more timely.

I really have no idea why many of the following books are on my list but some have been for a while. In most cases I do not know for sure how they came to my attention. Some came via Angel above. Many from Goodreads. Some as modern classics (Berlin & Kay).

Many of these are in my Reading goals for 2015 post; some are not.

Beer and Brewing

John J. Palmer and Colin Kaminski – Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) I have read two of the four books [Hops; Malt] in this series and they were both excellent. Looking forward to this and a bit intimidated by Yeast also.

Max Nelson – The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe Not sure where I first heard of this but I have several citations to it marked in multiple sources. That is, lots of people have cited it; some heavily. I got it for my birthday last year from my son and daughter-in-law.

“… presents a large amount of the evidence for beer in ancient Europe for the first time, and demonstrates the important technological as well as ideological contributions the Europeans made to beer throughout the ages. The book provides a fresh and fascinating insight into one of the most popular beverages in the world today.” [back cover blurb]

Ian Hornsey – Alcohol and its Role in the Evolution of Human Society Same for hearing about this one. Although in this, I have read some by the author so I know I want to read it. Besides, isn’t that a fascinating title? Bought self a copy late May 2014.

“This book, Ian’s fourth to be published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, unites archaeology and anthropology, plant breeding and industrial process, together with so many other disciplines besides. It is nothing short of revelatory and thoroughly up-to-date in our fast-moving world; this represents a Herculean effort on the part of the author.” [from Foreword by Arthur Edward Guinness, Earl of Iveagh (vii)]

Terry Foster – Brewing Porters and Stouts Two of our favorite styles. I want to design and brew an incredible Imperial stout, amongst other beers. But that is my ultimate aim. Well, something particular is what I have in mind.

Language and Related

Berlin & McKay – Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution This is a modern classic in several fields. It has wide-ranging applicability and has been cited far and wide. Cannot begin to say when I first heard of this but probably finishing up my undergrad (after retiring from the Army) in one of my cognitive science or philosophy courses.

Literature and Literary Theory

J.R.R. Tolkien – Tolkien on Fairy-stories This was recommended by Candy Schwartz to Sara and I a couple years ago. We were in Sioux City at the time and it came via Twitter, I believe.

Western World History / History

William H. McNeill – The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community I have been aware of this book since I read and reviewed The Pursuit of Power and have owned a copy for a couple years now perhaps.

Roy Porter – The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment Recommended by Dr. Matthew Pangborn who I took Enlightenment Literature from at Briar Cliff my second-to-last term there before moving to Bend.

Certain Kinds of Histories

Urling C. Coe, M.D. – Frontier Doctor: Observations on Central Oregon and the Changing West My friend Jon Abernathy of Bend Beer, Hack Bend and The Brew Site recommended this as have several other sources (people & paper). To better understand life in Central Oregon in the earliest parts of the 20th century. Purchased a copy.

Hanne Blank – Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality No idea where I found this but here’s a review I came across sometime.

Elizabeth Abbott – A History Of Celibacy This and the rest in this group were probably suggested by Goodreads recommendation engine. Why not? They could be a lot of fun. Most will come via libraries.

Hanne Blank – Virgin: The Untouched History

Elissa Stein – Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation

David M. Friedman – A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis

Marilyn Yalom –  History of the Breast

Stephanie Coontz – Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage

Karen Essex – Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend


Alex Wright – Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age I had Boyd Rayward for a couple classes in library school (eat your hearts out!) so I know who Otlet was. Also have read many of Boyd’s writings. Looking forward to this. Lest you wonder why I’m going on about Rayward regarding Otlet, here’s his entry from the index: 12-13, 57, 71-72, 104, 177, 225, 301. Rayward also shows up in other entries such as:

Otlet, Paul

as Rayward’s dissertation subject, 12

Just a tad important in bringing Otlet to light.

[Boyd was one of my angels at GSLIS. Might not be here if not for his gentle care.]

Robert J. Glushko, ed. – The Discipline of Organizing I think I learned of it when Ed Summers marked it “to read” in Goodreads in late April 2014. I got a copy for Christmas 2014 from my son and his dear wife. This is definite geek material for me. I hope I enjoy it.

Susan Cheever – Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction I believe I found this at a used/antiquarian book shop in Omaha. One of downtown Omaha’s finest features actually, in two librarian’s opinions.


So. Maybe this will happen again. Hopefully in a more timely manner so I can do better at knowing where/how a title came to my attention. I am trying to do a better job recording them but not convinced succeeding.

Nolan – Hunters of the Great Forest

Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan

Date read: 16 May 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image of Dennis Nolan's Hunters of the Great Forest

Hardback, 1 volume unpaged [40 pages]

Published 2014 by Roaring Brook Press

Source: Deschutes Public Library [Picture Books NOLAN DENNIS]

I came across this thanks to the 2015 Graphic Novel Challenge (see below) and, in particular, to Tiffany Pennington’s review.

The book is 11.25×8.75”providing a wide canvas for the author/illustrator. On top of that, every image is a two-page spread; a panorama. This leaves a lot of room for detail, for story development, and, simply put, for storytelling.

There are no words in this book. Not as text and not as text on something. No labels. No brands. No words.

I loved that about this book. It made me truly focus on the images if I wanted to know what the story is; much less, what happened. The images are delightful and whimsical. I think this book would be great for most anyone of any age. This would be a particularly amazing book to spend time with a child who had a fair few words and some concepts regarding “adventuring” and the broader world. Maybe a bright 4-year-old? Five- or 6-year-old maybe? [Sorry, has been 30+ years since mine were that age.] It would be great fun to read this book with a kid like that. One could spend hours at it.

Seven intrepid hunters, each with their own personality and way of dealing with the difficulties encountered, set off. Lots of perseverance and knowing when to run. Working as a team. So much more. Very positive book.

Is that the same person hanging out that tower window on their return as it was on their departure? So many things like that, even in these sometimes austere images.

Don’t miss the epilog or “Easter egg” on the last page/colophon, just like in the Marvel movies. You do sit through the credits for those, right? I don’t know, and doubt it is, an actual teaser but it gives more insight into the story.

Photo of a two-page spread from Nolan's Hunters of the Great Forest

The above panel is perhaps my favorite. Although there is little actually going on it is amazing. Peaceful. Informational. Calm despite the hard work to get there and the long road ahead. It also reminds me of Oregon (and other places) so lets me imagine these fine folks in my neck of the woods, in places I love.

Highly recommended. In case there were doubts.

This is the 54th book in my GN2015

Swaby – Headstrong

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World by Rachel Swaby

Date read: 09-25 April 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover image of Headstrong by Swaby

Paperback, xiv, 273 pages

Published 2015 by Broadway Books

Source: Deschutes Public Library (509.2 SWABY RACHEL)

I found this book on one of the new nonfiction shelves (Biography?) at Deschutes Public Library.

[Sorry for the crap review. All of these women deserve better. Life is kicking my ass lately. There it is. I said it. Deal. I’m still trying to. Besides, here’s a review after I said I was done for now.]

The book opens with a four-page introduction, then the 52 profiles (~3-5 pages each), followed by acknowledgments, notes, bibliography and index. The 52 profiles are divided into seven major areas: Medicine, Biology and the Environment, Genetics and Development, Physics, Earth and Stars, Math and Technology, and Invention.

A few of my favorites are as follows:


Gerty Radnitz Cori (1896-1957) Biochemistry – Czech

Amazing woman! She and her research partner/husband Carl provided a firm foundation “of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen for which they received a Nobel Prize in Medicine.” They did so much more. Much of it truly foundational work.

Elsie Widdowson (1906-2000) Nutrition – British

Therefore when Elsie proposed the idea of extending their analysis to cereals, dairy and miscellaneous items such as drinks, so as to produce a practical set of tables showing the composition of British foods, Robert McCance took no time at all in agreeing and in 1934 The chemical composition of foods was born, with the first edition being published in 1940. This is now in its sixth edition and is regarded as the foremost nutrition publication and is the basis of most nutritional databases around the world.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) Biochemistry – British

Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances.”

Biology and the Environment

Mary Anning (1799-1847) Paleontology – British

I absolutely adored the opening sentence! “Before she was struck by lightning, Mary Anning was a dull child.” It continues, “But after she was lifted from the grisly scene and sponged off (her babysitter and two friends dead and a horse-riding event ruined), the baby had changed” (54). It just gets better from there. I mean, Dickens wrote about her! (18 years after she died. [Or not.])

What a story. Her and her brother discovered “the world’s first ichthyosaur fossil” (55). I’m not going to forget Mary. Class is a bitch! Class and gender …

In 1811, she saw some bones sticking out of a cliff; and, hammer in hand, she traced the position of the whole creature, and then hired men to dig out for her the lias block in which it was embedded. Thus was brought to light the first Ichthyosaurus (fish-lizard), a monster some thirty feet long, with jaws nearly a fathom in length, and huge saucer eyes, some of which have been found so perfect, that the petrified lenses (the sclerotica, of which it had thirteen coats) have been split off and used as magnifiers. People then called it a crocodile. Mr. Henley, the lord of the manor, bought it of the enterprising young girl for twenty three pounds. It is now in the British Museum.” She was 12 years old FFS!

Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911) Chemistry – American

So many important contributions! 1st woman admitted to MIT. Her biography at MIT Archives.

Genetics and Development

Nettie Stevens (1861-1912) Genetics – American

The real discoverer of sex determination. Died “of breast cancer eleven years after her career began” (85). Wikipedia entry. Article at Nature.

Earth and Stars

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) Astronomy – American

“Maria Mitchell worked as a librarian by day, but it was her other office—a makeshift observatory on the roof of her parents’ home in Nantucket, Massachusetts—that was her favorite workspace,” is how this entry begins (155). How can I not like that?

My first thought was, “What kind of librarian?

As a young woman, Mitchell worked briefly as a schoolteacher, then as a librarian at the Nantucket Atheneum, while still continuing her astronomical observations. Her father encouraged her, and through him, Mitchell was fortunate to be able to meet some of the country’s most prominent scientists, though generally as a young woman she was shy and avoided company.

Maria Mitchell, the first female professional astronomer in the United States, became instantly famous in October 1847, when she was the first to discover and chart the orbit of a new comet, which became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.”

Math and Technology

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) Statistics – British



Most of these women I had never heard of, but I have heard of a dozen or so and had some idea of why they were famous. But then there’s a woman like Florence Nightingale who many think of as the epitome of nursing and while she quite probably was an exemplary nurse, her statistical work “marked the beginning of evidence-based medicine” (187). She also created the first modern nursing curriculum and many other important contributions.

And I left out many amazing women such as Ada Lovelace, Sally Ride, Rachel Carson and others.

Interesting read with a fair few sources. All of the links I used came from the book.

Going to have to find that Dickens’ piece on Mary Anning. [Citation: Dickens, Charles, “Mary Anning, the Fossil Finder.” All the Year Round, July 22, 1865.] And here it is!

2015 Reading Update

I wanted to give an update on this year’s reading so far as it is about to change. Well, my reading may not change, or it will, but my reporting of it will. I am not going to be writing many more reviews for a while.

I am currently facing some issues in life that have seriously beaten me down. We have been attempting to get help now since early Aug 2014 without much luck. Thankfully, the glaringly obvious answer (thyroid) is not, based on several tests. That’s good; perhaps. But it leaves us in the dark.

I have just recently found someone to work with and I am cautiously hopeful.

Mindfulness will be a big part. Two of the key attitudinal factors of mindfulness are non-judging and letting go. Some things have to go and the “need” to participate in these reading challenges is entirely self-imposed. Thus, change.

Challenges and Status

My Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge was set at 75 books and I am past that now. I finished reading my 75th book on 28-29 April 2015. I have completed at least four others since. This will continue as Goodreads is the main (social) place I track my reading.

My 2015 8th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge was completed on 25 April with book 52 for Silver Age: Bunn, et al. – The Sixth Gun, book 2 I have read four since and posted one review. I found lots of things to read from this group. There wasn’t a lot of direct social action, and I am perfectly fine with that—not looking for “community”—but a few of the folks read lots of great sounding books. I have already read a couple I found this way and have quite enjoyed them.

My 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge was (fully) completed on 4 April for Full Master with book 20 of 16-20: Dunlop – Portland Beer: Crafting the Road to Beervana I had already decided to stop contributing to the Nonfiction challenge because I didn’t find any form of community there and I wasn’t finding book recommendations; not that I need any more. I realize that both of those seem in direct contradiction with things I wrote just above. But they truly aren’t.

As of 1 May (and to the best of my knowledge), I have completed 22 of the 50 challenges in the 2015 Reading Challenge. This one will continue but I am not committed to meeting all 50. If I do, great; but it isn’t likely. I would though like to mark off a couple more.

Other Finished Books

The books I have finished so far that you may well not see reviews for are the following:


This seems like an easy thing to let go. I am pressuring myself—judging myself—because I am not producing reviews of everything I read so far—like I ever have—and am getting further behind as I read more. I assume you realize that I also have about a half dozen books that I am currently actively reading with many more sitting in the wings. As one does.

So. I will work towards not judging myself on this issue and work at finding more things to let go.

If you are aware that I have read a book (by whatever means), of course, please feel free to ask me about it. Can’t promise I’ll remember much but perhaps I can add more than a simple entry and a couple of stars to the discussion.

And to all those readers who are a part of my book reading “community”—be it Goodreads, author visits at public library, personal recommendations, Manga/Graphic Novel Challenge, weekly recap from Unshelved Book Club, etc.—I want to extend a hearty thank you for all the pleasure you bring me. Cheers!

Greenberg – The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
Date read: 28-29 April 2015
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cover image of Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
Hardback, 1 volume unpaged
Published 2013 by Little, Brown and Company
Source: Deschutes Public Library (GN GREENBERG ISABEL)

Sara picked this up at the public library when browsing the shelves. Turns out I added it back in January to my To Be Read list as the author was under 30 when she wrote it and that counts for my one remaining challenge [see below].

I actually began reading this because I had just come across a World War I war poem adapted by Greenberg in another graphic novel I am currently reading, Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics. The poem she adapted was Osbert Sitwell’s “Therefore Is the Name of It Called Babel.” She also adapted another poem in the same volume.

I enjoyed the Encyclopedia quite a bit. Not sure why it needed to rip off the Bible so much though. Decent early 21st-century remix of stories.

This is the 75th book in my Goodreads 2015 Challenge which “completes” that one for me.

It also qualifies as an Author under 30 for my 2015 Reading Challenge.

This is the 53rd book in my GN2015

Bunn, et al. – The Sixth Gun, book 2

The Sixth Gun. Book 2. Crossroads by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (illustrations and lettering), Bill Crabtree (colors), etc.
Date read: 23 April 2015
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image of Bunn, et al's The Sixth Gun, Book 2, Crossroads

Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 2011 (1st ed.) by Oni Press
Source: Deschutes Public Library (TEEN GN BUNN CULLEN)

I liked this. The story moves along a bit faster and we get a little character development in Sinclair and Becky. Gord steps into a prominent role.

I gave this 5 stars compared to the 4 I gave the first. It felt more … I don’t know. Perhaps it was a bit calmer. Plenty of death and destruction but it felt more leisurely of a story. Probably not even close but that’s the best I have at the moment as to the difference in feel.

Went to request Book 3 from the public library but the one copy is “LONG MISSING.” ::sigh:: Copies of 4-7 are conveniently available.  This kind of thing puts a big damper on my serial reading. May learn to stick to single issue/book titles in graphic novels. Series are fraught in so many ways for me.

This is my 52nd graphic novel or manga of the year. This qualifies me for Silver Age, the highest-level—a book a week on average, in the 2015 8th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge.

I already finished my nonfiction challenge having read and posted reviews of 20 nonfiction books.

I am also 2 books away from the first reading challenge I set myself this year, which is 75 books at Goodreads.

Shortly, the only ongoing reading challenge I will have left for 2015 is this oddball one.

This is the 52nd book in my GN2015